Georgia Congressman John Lewis revealed in a statement released over the weekend that doctors have diagnosed him with stage IV pancreatic cancer. During a routine medical exam, physicians noticed symptoms of the deadly disease, which were then confirmed by subsequent tests, as reported in the Daily Mail.
The Democratic Party and civil rights icon is vowing to continue to serve his constituents, however, and although he conceded he “may miss a few votes during this period,” he is looking forward to returning to the “front lines” by the grace of God.
“I have been in some kind of fight — for freedom, equality, basic human rights — for nearly my entire life,’’ the 79-year-old Lewis said. “I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now.’’
While the Democratic congressman is under no illusions regarding the severity of his diagnosis, he is doing his best to remain in high spirits: “While I am clear-eyed about the prognosis, doctors have told me that recent medical advances have made this type of cancer treatable in many cases, that treatment options are no longer as debilitating as they once were, and that I have a fighting chance.”
Lewis went on to describe serving his constituents as “the honor of a lifetime” before asking: “Please keep me in your prayers as I begin this journey.”
The longtime Georgia representative is the sole living member of the “Big Six” civil rights activists, a group once spearheaded by Martin Luther King Jr., and he even addressed the DC crowd prior to King’s “I have a dream” speech.
Lewis’ front-line participation in the civil rights movement drew national and international attention to southern segregation, famously leading protesters in the 1965 Bloody Sunday march in Selma, Alabama, where the then 25-year-old was attacked and beaten by law enforcement.
Written by Red Blue Divide editorial staff